Valiente (Bob Jornayvaz 2, Gonzalo Ferrari 4, Poroto Cambiaso 4, Adolfo Cambiaso, 10) led from start-to-finish to defeat Santa Clara (Henry Porter 3, Matias Magrini 7, Nachi du Plessis 8, Luis Escobar 4), 12-9, in front of a good local crowd.
Valiente finished the six-team tournament undefeated at 3-0 and Santa Clara was 2-1.
Luis Escobar of Santa Clara leans to hook Poroto Cambiaso of Valiente.
Polo great Adolfo Cambiaso was named Most Valuable Player. He scored a game-high five goals and frustrated Santa Clara on both ends of the field for most of the game.
"What can you say about Adolfo," Escobar said. "Adolfo, these kids and this team they play together year-round so they know each other and Adolfo is the best."
Moonshine, a bay pony played by 14-year-old Poroto Cambiaso in the fifth chukker, was Best Playing Pony.
Valiente's Adolfo and Poroto Cambiaso double team Henry Porter of Santa Clara.
Valiente opened the game with a 2-0 lead on handicap and built a 5-1 lead in the first chukker. The teams played a 1-1 second chukker and Valiente outscored Santa Clara, 2-1, in the third chukker for a 7-4 halftime lead. Valiente maintained its scoring momentum in the second half, leading 9-4 after the fourth and 11-7 after the fifth.
"We started really well," Cambiaso said. "We started with a two-goal handicap and then scored three goals and were 5-1. Then they find the way a little bit and then we find the way again. It was kind of an even game.
Matias Magrini of Santa Clara tries to ride off Gonzalo Ferrari of Valiente.
"It is good to win always," Cambiaso said. "It's good Bob is back and we win it for him. Now we are ready for the World Polo League and happy to be back playing."
Working with a different lineup that featured Matias Magrini and Henry Porter replacing Robi Bilbao and Nico Escobar, Santa Clara could never find its momentum or chemistry early in the game and was playing catchup in the second half.
In the fifth chukker, Santa Clara outscored Valiente, 3-2, and trailed 11-7 going into the final chukker. Santa Clara came within two goals, 11-9, when Escobar hit a tail shot to Magrini who connected with Du Plessis who scored with 4:37 left. But it was the closest Santa Clara would come.
Matias Magrini of Santa Clara works the near side shot with Gonzalo Ferrari
of Valiente defending.
"If you get some momentum, Adolfo takes it away real quick," Escobar said. "But you have to try it and go for it. It was fun."
In addition to Adolfo Cambiaso's five goals, Poroto Cambiaso scored three goals and Ferrari had two goals. The 20-goal team received two goals on handicap.
For Adolfo and his son Poroto it was their second Sterling Cup title. In the 2018 tournament Adolfo, Mia and Poroto Cambiaso made history by winning their first-ever high goal tournament together. Along with teammate Magoo Laprida, Valiente knocked off pre-tournament favorite Audi, 10-4, in the final. Mia Cambiaso was MVP.
Bob Jornayvaz of Valiente drives downfield ahead of the pack.
"Poroto is playing good," Cambiaso said. "Every game he is playing better. He isn't intimidated by the adults yet."
It was Jornayvaz' first Sterling Cup title in his polo career. It was only his second game back since last playing in Argentina in September.
"It is a prestigious cup to win, they all are," Jornayvaz said. "Every tournament you win with Adolfo is special because he is getting older. But you would never know it since he is acting like an 18-year-old kid.
Luis Escobar of Santa Clara tries to get the ball past defender Bob Jornayvaz
"What a blast," Jornayvaz said. "It's just so much fun to get started again and get to play. This is the second game of the season for me. Adolfo, Poroto and Gonzalo here played so well. I got to watch. I had a great ticket today.
"It took Santa Clara a while to get going," Jornayvaz said. "They spread out. Once they got going they did well. They were a four-man team and any time you play a four-man team you have to play."
Bob Jornayvaz hugs Valiente teammate Adolfo Cambiaso after the game in the players' tent.
It was 19-year-old Ferrari's second tournament win in the U.S. He also teamed with Scott Swerdlin, Lucas Diaz Alberdi and Gringo Colombres for Palm Beach Equine to win the Joe Barry Memorial Trophy in January.
"I am very happy winning today, it is a big deal," Ferrari said. "I like playing with Adolfo, Poroto and Bob. Playing with Adolfo is amazing. He tells me what I do bad and what I need to improve. I am very happy to learn from him."
Escobar led Santa Clara with four goals. Du Plessis and Magrini each had two goals and Porter added one.
Popular local singer Tom Blake sang a stirring rendition of the National Anthem to start the day off and fans were treated to free local fare and refreshments throughout the game.
In this year's semifinals, Valiente came from behind to defeat SD Farms (Sayyu Dantata Jr., 0, Robertito Zedda, 5, Jejo Taranco, 8, Jero del Carril, 7), 9-6, on Thursday to advance into the final and on Wednesday, Santa Clara (Nico Escobar, 4, Robi Bilbao, 5, Nachi du Plessis, 8, Luis Escobar, 4) led from start-to-finish to defeat Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, 3, Juancito Bollini, 4, Rodrigo Andrade, 9, Juan Bollini, 5), 13-6, to advance.
Awards presenter Maria Lia Garrahan presents Adolfo Cambiaso with MVP plaque.
In early tournament games, Casablanca defeated Grand Champions, 12-7; Pilot edged SD Farms, 10-8; Santa Clara defeated Grand Champions, 19-11; and Valiente defeated Pilot, 16-9.
In 2019 in one the biggest upsets in Sterling Cup history, Colorado won the title, its first major 20-goal tournament. Colorado (Rob Jornayvaz, 2, Santi Torres, 6, Diego Cavanagh, 9, Nick Johnson, 3) rallied for a thrilling 9-8 upset of defending champion Valiente (Kian Hall, 3, Robertito Zedda, 4, Poroto Cambiaso, 3, Adolfo Cambiaso, 10).
It was Colorado's biggest tournament win in its two-year history as a team and first time all four players won the Sterling Cup including Johnson, who was making his 20-goal tournament debut.
The Sterling Cup is one of several prestigious tournaments the nation's largest and most innovative polo club resurrected four years ago after a 22-year absence. It was brought back by Grand Champions owner and president Melissa Ganzi in hopes of recapturing polo's glory days. It was the second tournament of the 22-goal season at Palm Beach Polo and Country Club after the January Challenge Cup and last played in 1995. It was considered the 22-goal championship and attracted as many as eighteen teams.
During the winter season in Wellington, Grand Champions is hosting 19 tournaments, the most of any club in the U.S., including four in January. The highlight of the schedule is the second season of the 26-goal World Polo League, featuring at least 11 teams and most of the best players in the sport.
With 18 safe and well-manicured fields, including 11-tournament grade, the club will host every level of polo for men, women and children including the WPL, the only 26-goal polo held outside of Argentina featuring the best players in the world.
Best Playing Pony Moonshine played by Poroto Cambiaso in the fifth chukker.
The club attracts a large international field of players from all corners of the world including Australia, Chile, India, Mexico, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Argentina, Canada, Ecuador, Brazil, Switzerland, France, Germany, Uruguay, Venezuela, Azerbaijan, South Africa, Nigeria and England.
Grand Champions is coming off its finest fall season in the club's 13-year history. It was the only club in the nation to stage two 20-goal fall tournaments in addition to the International Cup and Legends of Polo Carlos Gracida Memorial. The club also hosted a full schedule of successful and highly-competitive medium goal tournaments.
Sterling Cup finalists Valiente and Santa Clara.
Grand Champions and Santa Rita Polo Farm is the largest and most unique polo facility, nestled in the heart of the world's winter equestrian capital Wellington. It features 120 stalls in five self-contained barns, exercise track, five climate-controlled tack rooms, vet room, staff quarters, guest house and four polo fields with state-of-the-art underground irrigation including one field for stick-and-ball and new parking lot.
Grand Champions Polo Club and Santa Rita Polo Farm's expert staff can customize a complete playing experience including horses, pros and certified umpires in addition to lessons and practice sessions as part of its' Polo On Demand program, created by Melissa Ganzi when the club first opened.
Grand Champions awards table for the Sterling Cup.
Photos by ChukkerTV
The Polo School, a stand-alone USPA-sanctioned polo club, is thriving at Grand Champions and Santa Rita Polo Farm. It is dedicated to teaching polo to all ages, particularly grass roots youth. Its' mission is to provide individuals opportunities in polo at every economic and ability level. Scholarships are available. The Polo School operates in Wellington January through May and September through November. Headed by Director of Operations Juan Bollini, The Polo School has nurtured several men and women polo players now playing in the pro and amateur ranks since its inception.
2020 WINTER SCHEDULE
$100,000 World Cup
Tuesday 2/4 1 p.m. Audi vs Santa Clara at Jan Pamela Field 2
Tuesday 2/4 3 p.m. Dundas vs Palm Beach Equine at Jan Pamela Field 3
Tuesday 2/4 4 p.m. Daily Racing Form vs Gracida Wine at Santa Rita
Wednesday 2/5 2 p.m. Flexjet vs Beverly Equestrian at GCPC Field 3
Semifinals and Final TBA
FEB 1-29 Halo Polo Trophy, 6
FEB 1-29 Top Pony 8 Goal
FEB 1-29 Sieber Memorial Trophy
FEB 6-16 WPL All-Star Challenge
FEB 19-MAR 1 WPL Founders Cup
FEB 25-MAR 8 $50,000 National 12-Goal
MAR 8 Great Futures Polo Day, 10 a.m.
MAR 8 10 a.m. Great Futures Polo Day
MAR 1-29 Madelon Bourdieu Memorial
MAR 1-29 Limited Edition 8-Goal Series
MAR 1-28 Top Pony 12-Goal Series
MAR 4-22 WPL Palm Beach Open
MAR 28-APR 18 WPL Triple Crown of Polo
MAR 31-APR 4 WCT Finals
APR 4-19 Las Acacias, 4-8
APR 6-12 U.S. National Mixed Doubles Polo Championship
FEB-APR WCT Ladies Wednesday League
Polo Hotline 561-644-5050
THE POLO SCHOOL
The Polo School at Grand Champions and Director of Operations Juan Bollini are dedicated to teaching polo to all ages, particularly grass roots youth. The school's mission is to provide individuals opportunities in polo. The Polo School operates in Wellington January through May and September through November. For lessons contact Juan Bollini at 561-346-1099.
ChukkerTV, featuring cutting-edge technology, was the first to introduce state-of-the-art live streaming technology and instant replay in January, 2014 at Grand Champions Polo Club. For advertising opportunities on ChukkerTV please contact Mike Ferreira at firstname.lastname@example.org.
INFORMATION: For spectators, there are great field side views for tournament action and also the Grand Champions Polo Club Boutique. The club is home base for pro teams Audi and Flexjet. Everyone is welcome to watch every level of polo in a relaxed atmosphere with food and refreshments during the featured games of the winter, spring and fall tournament seasons and other special events. Admission is free except for some special events.